Tricky cottonwood trap out

Discussion in 'Swarms, Cut outs, and Trap outs' started by cstephen, Apr 23, 2011.

  1. cstephen

    cstephen New Member

    Messages:
    38
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I always get the hard ones. This one may well be a fool’s errand. A swarm on the side of trash bin two days ago has now taken up residence 25’ up in a cottonwood tree. I wish they had called two days ago. Now it’s hard. The tree is on state property and towers over an education complex full of kids. The bees have to go and the tree has to stay. They are willing to take the time for a trap out and do not want to poison the bees, so I’m going to give it a shot.
    [attachment=2:kx7cjjgu]Tree.jpg[/attachment:kx7cjjgu]

    As you can see from the next photo, getting a smooth enough surface to attach a cone to is going to be a trick. Rather than a plywood base, I’m thinking of chiseling a smooth roundish channel through the bark around the area and stapling the cone directly to the tree. The crevices in the bark are probably too deep to accommodate silicon. Has anyone tried those spray cans of foam insulation?
    [attachment=1:kx7cjjgu]Close.jpg[/attachment:kx7cjjgu]
    This next one is up close. There are four openings that they appear to be using in a 9â€-10†diameter area. I watched them for about a half hour and saw no indication of other exits; but that doesn’t mean others don’t exist. Chances are good that there may be no others as the fungus that caused the situation the bees have taken advantage of sticks to the heart of the wood where it hollows things out. These openings are in a spot where a branch obviously broke off years ago from weakening from the fungus.
    [attachment=0:kx7cjjgu]Closer.jpg[/attachment:kx7cjjgu]
    If I manage to block all the exits with a trap, I then have to figure out how to hang a nuc box up there. I think I can nail a platform to the tree temporarily.

    Anyway, any advice, help, and encouragement would be more than welcome from others who have had similar experiences.

    Claude Stephenson
     

    Attached Files:

  2. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

    Messages:
    5,829
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Wow! :shock:
    Kudos for giving this a shot. I have used my cone in a couple of pretty hard situations and have not had to use a plywood base as a result. I would just mold the base of the cone as best I could around the opening(s), staple it plenty and bring lots of caulking :D
    I think that the bees are able to chew their way through that expanding foam given enough time.
    I won't give you advice on how to mount your box as I posted pictures of one I did and took some ribbing for my carpentry skills (or lack thereof) ;)
    Best of luck!
     

  3. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

    Messages:
    8,996
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Dribble the hole with bee-go or bee-quick. Not having larva yet, they will abscond. You may get the swarm, or you may not, but they will be out, and maybe in an easier place to get to.

    Otherwise, we will discuss the trap.
     
  4. cstephen

    cstephen New Member

    Messages:
    38
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I don't have either Idee and it may take some time to get some delivered. I'll check around with my local beeks and see if anyone has any bee-go or bee-quick to spare. Any chance of getting them to go for a bait box if I use this method?

    Claude
     
  5. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

    Messages:
    8,996
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    There's always a chance, but in this case, it's very slight. A swarm trap box or 3, set a few hundred feet away, may give you a bit better chance. The best chance, tho, will be to see where they gather and treat as a normal swarm.
     
  6. cstephen

    cstephen New Member

    Messages:
    38
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I did not take your advice about the Bee-Go Idee. I hope you won’t hold it against me when I come back begging for advice in the future. I may likely be kicking myself when my alternative plan fails; but I’m optimistic at this point because I really want bees and the Bee-Go thing didn’t appeal to me for several reasons.

    It turns out that the nearest source for Bee-Go is a 50 mile round trip from my place and gas is $4. Either that or mail order and get it later this week. The beek who told me where to get it also said that it had an equal chance of driving the bees deeper into the tree as driving them out. That it was a fresh swarm did not seem to make any difference to her opinion.

    So I decided to go with a trap out. First I chiseled a smooth and somewhat level oval channel around the hive openings through the bark of the tree to staple my trap to. Then I fitted the hardware cloth base to the channel and cut it to shape and marked the spot to attach the cone.

    Next I built a platform to place the trap box on and attached it to the tree. Due to the shape of the tree and the location of the hive opening, the platform ended up about 8†lower than the base of the cone. I went home and built a small 8†tall table to put the bait box on and then attached the cone to the hardware cloth base, sewing it tight with the wire that was used to wrap the hardware cloth at the factory.

    This morning I stapled the trap to the tree following the carved channel. I used lots of staples to seal any possible access. I did not use any silicon or any other filler. I could see no way that they could possibly breach the trap so it did not appear necessary. I can always add this later.

    Here’s a picture of the wire trap on the tree.
    [attachment=3:3bvgbjx9]Cone.jpg[/attachment:3bvgbjx9]
    I ended up having to bend the cone to the side of the box to get the porch close enough. This next picture shows that the bees were exiting the cone, as there is one in the end.
    [attachment=2:3bvgbjx9]Cone_and_box.jpg[/attachment:3bvgbjx9]
    This next picture shows the precarious nature of the final set-up. I have it lashed down with baling wire but I don’t trust it yet. I’m going to extend the platform shelf tomorrow with a bigger piece of plywood that will stabilize the situation. They are predicting 60 mph winds in the afternoon, so I’ll get on it first thing.
    [attachment=1:3bvgbjx9]Box_in_tree_close.jpg[/attachment:3bvgbjx9]
    This is from the ground so you can get a sense of how far up there I’m working.
    [attachment=0:3bvgbjx9]Box_in_tree.jpg[/attachment:3bvgbjx9]
    I stopped by to check the situation on my way home about a half hour before sunset. It looked very slow. There were very few bees on the screen and there was no activity under the screen. There were several hundred bees in the box mostly on the brood comb. I asked my neighbor for egg comb, but I saw no sign of eggs on the brood comb he gave me. I put out a call on my local beek forum and I hope to get some egg comb in there soon.

    I watched them for 10-15 minutes and noticed that a few bees were still arriving from the field. About half of them went to the screen and wandered about erratically and then walked into the box. The other half landed directly on the box porch and walked into the bait box like it was home. I think this is a good sign.

    All best,

    Claude Stephenson
     

    Attached Files:

  7. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

    Messages:
    5,162
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Looks good and sounds good to me.
     
  8. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

    Messages:
    5,829
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I give you an "A" for effort!
    (and an A+ for taking the heat off me for my carpentry skills!) :mrgreen:
     
  9. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

    Messages:
    8,996
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I'm not here to dictate, only suggest. The changes you make and the different routes you take are what will make you successful when I'm not around.

    The trap looks great. I think you are headed for success if you have or can get eggs in there.

    Real nice job, especially for the first time.
     
  10. cstephen

    cstephen New Member

    Messages:
    38
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I added a bigger platform form the table/box set up this morning. It's a much more stable situation now. The winds are fierce here this time of year averaging 30-40mph with gusts to 60. I lashed the box to the platform with baling wire to be safe.

    I accidentally tore a hole in the base of the cone during the process but sewed it shut again.

    The progress is slow. I observed for an hour or so mid-day and only about 50 bees came out the cone. The winds are likely keeping them in. I've yet to observe more than 30-40 bees on the wire at any given time trying to get back in. Yesterday was calmer and busier. I estimate maybe 600-800 in the box this morning, mostly on the brood comb. I didn't look in at sundown. They are not drawing comb of their own yet.

    Still no decent egg comb to put in. I raided a neighbor's hive this morning and it was a mess. Comb criss-crossed everywhere. Impossible to inspect in detail without causing major damage. I managed to find a piece with 6-8 eggs in an empty section of brood but I don't think it is enough. I put it in the box anyway.

    I have a call out for eggs on my local beeks forum but I have no response after 36+ hours.

    How late is too late to add the eggs? I've a friend who lives about 50 miles away who will give me some, but it's a long way to go. I'll go there Saturday though if I don't find anything closer.

    Not much to do now except wait, so I'll probably not post much more until there is something interesting to let you all know about.

    thanks for all your help,

    Claude
     
  11. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

    Messages:
    8,996
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Six or eight eggs should do the job. It only takes one. Check them after 4 to 5 days and you should have a queen cell.
     
  12. Fuzzystuff

    Fuzzystuff New Member

    Messages:
    201
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I did my first trap on a tree just like that last year and about as far up. I used latex caulking to fill in around the screen as the bees were working their way between the bark and the screen, but if you chisled a flat spot my hats off to you.
     
  13. cstephen

    cstephen New Member

    Messages:
    38
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    After a week the bait box is slowly filling up. It's an 8 bar TBH nuc. The back is empty but they are all bearding the brood comb I put in the front. They are not drawing any new comb. Shouldn't they be drawing comb? They are all obviously foraging and are coming back laden with pollen.

    It's still very windy here so the exodus is slow. The platform and box have held up so far through relentless buffeting. No apparent leaks in the trap screen.

    CS
     
  14. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

    Messages:
    5,162
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Sounds like you are off to a good start and with no leaks or other entrances that is even better.

    Good luck with it.
     
  15. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

    Messages:
    8,996
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Keep in mind, they are all foragers. Way past wax making age. They will revert back, but it takes awhile. They will draw comb eventually.